Archive for CPSA

Three in a Row…

Posted in Artist with tags , , , , , , on May 2, 2014 by Lisa Mills

I was excited last week to find out that Reflections on Cool Jazz was accepted into CPSA’s 22nd Annual International Exhibition in Florida this year. This acceptance was my third in a row and it also earned me “signature status” in CPSA. Signature status is earned when one’s work is juried into the exhibition three times in a ten year span.  This is the fourth time I’ve entered. Year one ended in rejection and was really tough on me as an emerging artist. I had to reach deep to regain inspiration. I also made a conscious effort to try and create art that is different, inspiring and challenging. Reflections on Cool Jazz  was the most difficult piece I’ve created to date. There are close to 150 hours of work put into it and I was definitely challenged. The thing I like about both my Reflections pieces is that they depict the subject matter in a realistic way, yet due to the close-up nature of the view in my reference photos and the bright light, there are great abstract forms within the realism.


Reflections Sax Original Copyright



I’m in the process now of trying to determine my next step in the creative process, which is usually difficult for me as well as time consuming. In the mean time, I’m experimenting with new papers and pencils and creating as I can. I’ll ship this artwork to Florida this month, where it will hang in the exhibition from June 13 through August 25 at the Ormond Memorial Art Museum and Gardens. It will go through the second round of judging – this time for awards – at the end of May. Frankly, I am just thrilled to have met my goal to gain signature status, but I’m not gonna lie – an award would really be nice! I’ll keep you posted…



Morning Preyer Accepted at CPSA International

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 24, 2013 by Lisa Mills

I’m so pleased to announce that Morning Preyer has been accepted into the CPSA 21st International Exhibition this summer in Brea.  It was one of 127 entries accepted of over 600 entered.  While I’m excited for this piece to be accepted, I’m disappointed that Reflections on Cool Jazz was not.  I can still enter it again next year, and plan to do so.  This is the second time my work has been accepted in the international show and if I’m accepted a third time, I will receive signature status in CPSA.  The show this year is in Brea California the last week of July.  I’ll be attending the show and look forward to seeing the exhibition in person.

Morning Preyer Copyright

Holy cow! It’s a winner!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on August 5, 2012 by Lisa Mills


I am beyond words as I start this blog entry.  My artwork “Reflections on Heavy Metal” was juried into the International CPSA Exhibition which is displayed at The Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center in Covington, Kentucky through the end of August. If that wasn’t enough, my artwork was one of 19 entries selected as a winner Friday evening at the CPSA Convention in Covington.  I received an Award for Excellence. I was beyond words then too.

“Reflections on Heavy Metal” on display at the Carnegie

There were 537 artworks entered into this year’s juried show.  121 were selected to be on exhibit for about six weeks at the Carnegie.  19 were winners.  As they said in The Hunger Games, somehow the odds were ever in my favor!  I stood among artists that I have admired for quite some time.  I had the privilege of sitting next to decorated and talented artist, Jeff George of California at our CPSA awards banquet Friday night.  It was his 9th straight year to have a piece selected for show. He’s also a past CIPPY Award winner (that’s Colored Pencil speak for Best in Show).  That’s staggering when you think of the fickle finger of fate that judges use to select artwork for these shows.

I got to Covington on Thursday afternoon and allowed myself plenty of time to see the exhibit.  The Carnegie is a beautiful, historic building that provides a perfect venue for the display of artwork.  I was really astonished at the quality of each of the 121 pieces that were selected this year.  Colored pencil artists are somewhat of the Rodney Dangerfields of the art world: we “don’t get no respect.”  I would challenge anyone with a thought of looking at colored pencil artwork with contempt to go see this exhibit.  To me, colored pencil has more potential for diversity in style that any other single medium in art and that diversity shines in this exhibit.  (Please note, that I say more than any other single medium, as mixed media artwork has a great deal of potential for diverse styles and applications.)  Colored Pencil art can look like pencil, colored pencil, pastel, oil, acrylic, watercolor and collage, among others.  It takes a great deal of patience and time to master the medium and execute the artwork.  There are so many possibilities that a colored pencil artist has at his or her disposal involving paper, boards and other surfaces, as well as any number of types of pencils and techniques one can use to carry out one’s vision.

The artists that won this year were both seasoned artists and new to CPSA.  Our CIPPY award winner was a new member and was entering for the first time.  Not only did she get juried in, but she also won best in show!  Quite an achievement.  Here’s a link to the CPSA website with photos of all the winning entries:

This was CPSA’s 20th annual exhibition and each year, many donors step up and give thousands of dollars to make the awards possible for the artists.  This year over $18,000 was donated for the prize money which comes from art product companies, district CPSA chapters and individuals.  My particular award was an Award for Excellence and it was made possible by the generous donations from CPSA District Chapter 215 (Dallas/Fort Worth – my home chapter) and DC 115 (Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania).  Thank you to both of those District Chapters who contributed funds – I am truly grateful for your generosity!

I’d be remiss not to also thank our wonderful judge, Jamie Markle, Publisher and Editorial Director of F+W Fine Art in Cincinnati.  Mr. Markle was very thoughtful in his process and very accessible to CPSA throughout our event.  He even took the time to speak to our group on Saturday morning with words of wisdom on getting published.  I know our CPSA board was thrilled to have worked with him this year.

I am still trying to grasp the reality of this achievement, which for me has been about three years in the making.  I picked up a colored pencil three years ago…my first time since I was in college.  I didn’t know where I would be headed with that pencil, but I knew I was hooked and a passion was re-born.  One of my goals is to get Signature Status with CPSA, which means that I have to have two more pieces juried in to the International Show within the next 9 years – this year’s entry provided step one.  There is also the CPSA Explore This! show that is featured online in the spring.  It is a mixed media show, and I would like to enter it as well to expand my repertoire.

For those of you that keep up with this blog, I appreciate your interest and support!  I hope you’re enjoying the journey as much as I am.



The judge has reached his verdict and…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on April 25, 2012 by Lisa Mills

Woo hoo!  “Reflections on Heavy Metal” was juried in to the CPSA 20th Annual International Competition to be held in Covington, Kentucky this summer.

I stumbled on this bit of news in an unexpected way.  I was perusing through my Facebook newsfeed last weekend and stumbled upon a status update for another CPSA artist.  She said in her update that a work she submitted was juried in to the CPSA show.  While I was excited for her, my heart absolutely sank.  I had received no communiqués from CPSA about the list of accepted entries.  In fact, the list wasn’t due to be posted for another few days.

With my heart racing, I immediately went to the CPSA website.  I clicked on their “news” link and saw that the list of accepted entries was, in fact posted.  One more click took me to the list.  I thought about it for a moment, then begin to slowly scroll down the page.  Since the list is in alphabetical order, it didn’t take too long to arrive at the “M’s.”  Ma…Me…Mi…then I saw it! Mills, Lisa!!!  Something resembling a squeak came out of my mouth.  I couldn’t believe it.  This is a huge honor for my name to appear amongst some really accomplished artists.

So now, my framed work will travel to Covington, Kentucky this summer to appear in the exhibition at the Carnegie Center for about six weeks.  Each accepted entry will be reviewed by the judge and from those, awards will be given to those who he deems has merit.  Last year there were over 700 entries, with approximately 120 or so being juried in.  From that, just over 10% will win an award.  I don’t know where the judge thinks my work fits in this whole puzzle, but I am thrilled to have been selected to appear in the exhibition.

On other notes of exciting news, I have teamed up with fellow artist and my former teacher, Alyona Nickelson in creating online tutorials as a part of her website.  She offers subscribed members access to various tutorials and my first one has been published to the site!  Also, this blog that you’re reading now is the Featured Artist Blog in Colored Pencil Magazine (both online and in print) for the month of May.  Many thanks go out to Sally Ford, editor/publisher of Colored Pencil Magazine for deeming my work worthy of print!  All that said, I must get back to work.  Among the items I’m working on now is a larger piece of my two dogs playing in the snow and I have taken all the photos I need for an upcoming piece that will continue in my “Reflections” series.  Not a guitar this time…but I’ll keep you guessing!

Until then, here’s a picture of a work that I did of Lucy in the snow after I finished “Reflections on Heavy Metal.”  It’s called Snowdog.  Lucy, after her playtime in the snow came up for air with a “beard” of snow.

A Departure From My Norm…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on March 16, 2012 by Lisa Mills

I just finished this piece that I have entered in the CPSA (Colored Pencil Society of America) International Competition.  Works entered are evaluated by a judge and then, if selected (juried in) are shown at the international show and evaluated further for awards.  Just being juried into the show would be a HUGE deal for me, as I failed to make the cut last year.  I decided to depart from my animal art for this piece and do something completely different. This is my son’s Fender Stratocaster.  It’s all in colored pencil and done on Art Spectrum Colorfix Suede paper.  I loved how the paper, which has a velvety surface, combined with the wax and clay in the pencils creating a very painterly effect.  Here’s the piece entitled, “Reflections on Heavy Metal.”  Wish me luck in this year’s competition!  The results are not out until late April.

“Reflections on Heavy Metal” 15.5″x8″
Colored Pencil on Colorfix Suede Paper
Copyright 2012, Lisa M. Mills